Local politicians from Munster and other southern localities of Ireland have welcomed a new EU supported program to boost enterprise in their regions.
This move to foster economic growth in every Irish locality has been initiated with the launch of the Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme, called Smart Regions for short.
Supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), this scheme, administered by Enterprise Ireland, aims to unlock regional enterprise potential, fortify innovation ecosystems, and drive job creation and retention.
The move was welcomed by the chair of the Southern Regional Assembly, Councillor Terry Shannon – former Mayor of Cork.
“The Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme will make an important contribution towards job creation and economic growth in our regions” he said.
“It will empower enterprises to work collaboratively to drive product and process innovation. This regional focus in particularly welcome, it allows us to build on regional strengths and to address key gaps in local infrastructure”.
The overarching goal is to stimulate economic development in each region of Ireland on the local level. It will concentrate efforts on identified strengths and opportunities unique to each area. The funding strategically targets locations with critical infrastructure gaps, vital for supporting micro and SME businesses.
Launched on October 12, 2023, the Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme invites applications until March 31, 2024. A joint endeavour co-funded by the Government and ERDF, the scheme aligns with priorities outlined in the nine Regional Enterprise Plans and leverages existing regional enterprise partnerships.
The scheme encompasses four key investment streams, including local infrastructure projects, and services to small innovative businesses.
Projects selected under the scheme must embody collaboration, innovation, financial viability (with emphasis on profitability for infrastructure projects), sustainability, and a commitment to delivering measurable metrics and key performance indicators enhancing existing regional infrastructure.
This strategic initiative encourages enterprises to join forces, fostering innovation and addressing gaps between the prosperity of different counties and cities. The competitive funding process will allocate resources based on merit, with a maximum investment of €10 million available. Eligible parties are encouraged to explore funding opportunities by visiting the official website.
As Ireland navigates its economic landscape, the Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme emerges as a pivotal instrument, propelling diverse regions toward sustainable growth and fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.